10 Photo Retouching Tools You Shouldn't Be Without

By Anna Rose Johnson
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The power of photo retouching software will blow your mind. We’re serious. With a few clicks, your portraits will look like the airbrushed pictures in magazines. But don't go download just any software program because they don't all have the tools you want. Make sure the software you select has these 10 essential tools:

10. Makeup Application – Apply makeup to your portraits to enhance features and bone structure where the original image lacked. You can add blush, eye liner, eye shadow and mascara.

9. Plugin for Photoshop – Most photographers live and breathe Photoshop or other photo editing software. This tool allows you to use a photo retouching software while editing images in Photoshop. We love this feature because it removes the extra step of editing images in Photoshop and then having to import them into another program. Now you can do all of your editing in one window.

8. Slim Face – With the ease of a slider bar, you can shrink your subject’s face to appear slimmer and more proportional. If only you could use this tool in real life!

7. Whiten Teeth – Brighten a subject’s smile by simply whitening their teeth. No other part of the image will be affected because the software’s facial feature recognition tool can tell where the subject’s teeth and smile are located.

6. Compare Original – See the changes made to your original image in real time with a side-by-side comparison tool.

5. Export in Original Size – Export your airbrush photos in the original size you imported them in. Many photo retouching software packages compress the image as soon as it is imported into their program, diminishing the image quality. The best don’t compress the image, instead preserving the original image and leaving its quality intact.

4. Spot Removal – Remove individual spots like moles, acne or other blemishes with a single click.

3. Auto Detect – Instead of telling the software tool where to start enhancing, it will automatically detect faces and let you control the editing from there.

2. Facial Feature Recognition – The best photo retouching software has a facial feature point adjustment tool that allows you to set specific points on a subject’s face. This tool makes sure enhancements like skin smoothing and teeth whitening are implemented on the right parts of the face. Most programs do a pretty good job at finding where a subject's eyes, nose, and other features are, but other software requires you to identify facial features yourself.

1. Skin Tone – Even out skin tone to remove wrinkles, freckles and other uneven skin pigmentation. The skin tone tool is the premier photo touch-up feature. Without it all of the other enhancement features would fall short. Every picture you see of super models and movie stars in magazines has been enhanced with this tool.

The best way to use photo retouching software is to simply dive in. The learning curve isn’t too steep and in no time you’ll be pumping out gorgeous, magazine-quality, air brushed photos.

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